Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

Many of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so we could parade around the neighborhood in our finest. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or avoid, as some fashion-phobic children were known to do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history shows that its origins are not what we might expect. And examining the custom from a fashion school point of view, we see how changing retailing patterns have altered its significance.

Origins in other cultures. Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, has traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but the idea that people have more than they possibly need.

Christian beginnings. In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth and new life. But it was not until 300 A.D. that wearing new clothes became an official decree, as the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks for new ones.

Superstitions. A 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin’s Almanack stated that if one’s clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck: “At Easter let your clothes be new; Or else for sure you will it rue.” In the 16th Century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes.

Post Civil War. Easter traditions as we know it were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw no good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, the churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called “The Sunday of Joy,” and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.

The Easter Parade. In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was famous around the country, and people who were poor or from the middle class would watch the parade to witness the latest trends in fashion design. Soon, clothing retailers leveraged the parade’s popularity and used Easter as a promotional tool in selling their garments. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today.

The American Dream. By the middle of the 20th Century, dressing up for Easter had lost much of any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at vintage clothing ads in a fashion school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was something every wholesome, All-American family was expected to do.

Attitudes today. Although many of us may still don new clothes on Easter, the tradition doesn’t feel as special, not because of any religious ambivalence, but because we buy and wear new clothes all the time. At one time in this country, middle class families shopped only one or two times a year at the local store or from a catalog. But in the last few decades, retailing options have boomed. There’s a Gap on every corner, and countless internet merchants allow us to shop 24/7. No wonder young people today hear the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade” and have no idea what it means.

It’s interesting to see where the tradition of wearing new clothes on Easter began, and how it’s evolved through the years. Even with changing times, however, the custom will surely continue in some form. After all, fashionistas love a reason to shop.

Street Wear Fashion – A Trend to Change People

People are still quite unaware of the term street wear, or urban wear. It is a term that has been made popular by media, especially in the fashion world. People are eager about fashion. Street wear is an alternative category of clothing which is slightly different from traditional mainstream pop culture clothing that can be found in shopping malls, retail stores, and other shopping centers. It has a broad category.

This Street wear movement is the outcome of some brands like GAP, Abercrombie Fitch and holster, and many others across the world. Another opinion in the history of streetwear is regarding a famous surfer named Shawn Studs. He surfed in South California. He started a new concept in t-shirts with a tag on them. It became so popular that the T-shirts began to sell all over the United States.

Though it has roots in hip-hop culture, instead of copying pop fashion, designers put their own ideas into designing different clothing such as t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts. People become bored of having the same look, they want a change in their clothing. So, they like this new trend of fashion. This new style obviously changes from one place to another, but the inspiration and ideas are always motivated. Skateboarding is also a source of inspiration. Streetwear is pretty much colorful. Though it is a new trend, quality is getting better and better. People are eager to know about the latest t-shirts, and browse E-bay too in search of street wear.

There are some misconceptions about streetwear. Some people mix it with hip-hop clothing but they are not the same. These two are totally different styles. Hip-hop fashion is inspired by the rapper, and gangster style. Street wear has a funky character which is different from hip-hop fashion. So, it will be silly to mix it with hip-hop.

Street wear has had a revolutionary effect in Japan, fashion in Japan was a little different than the United States. They adopt the idea of popular anime cartoons and that is very attractive to the locals. So, instead of having a gangster impression, urban wear here has become a reflection of local Japanese culture. In the 1990s, the idea was redirected to United States and streetwear fashion was adopted by youngsters. It is believed that such diverse street wear fashion will cross all cultural barriers among nations.

Personal Color Analysis – What Colors Should I Wear?

What colors should you wear to look fabulous? I have the answer!

But first… a quick story…

About a year ago… I was browsing the internet on fashion ideas. No particular reason. I suppose I was in a bit of a style rut and I thought… maybe if I look at what other people are wearing I’ll get inspired.

Do you ever just look at yourself one day and think… what’s my style… how do I look put together… what the heck is that on my shirt?

Well, I suppose I had one of those moments. I was just feeling drab and unattractive. I had really nice clothes… but I was bored and uninspired.

I came across an article about seasonal colors and how each person fits into a seasonal color palette. As I scanned this article, I started to understand that color plays a HUGE part in how a person feels and looks.

The idea of wearing the “right” color never occurred to me. And honestly, I’m not sure I knew exactly what my best colors were.

So, I did some serious studying on this concept. This magical idea of 12 seasonal color palettes.

I did my own personal color analysis. I discovered that I’m a Light Spring. I purchased a Light Spring color swatch book and I make sure that all of my clothes match these swatches.

This was life changing for me. Why? Because for the first time, I had real confidence when I dressed. The right color can be the very difference from making you look drab to brilliant. I get compliments all the time… wow, great color on you! Your eyes look so blue in that sweater. You look great!

The more I hear this, the better I feel. And so will you!

Now, when I shop, I look for my best colors first and then the style. If there’s a shirt that’s super cute but doesn’t have my colors, I don’t even bother picking it up.

So, I want to share with you what the 12 seasons are and how you can do your own seasonal color analysis. Then, you can read my other articles on each season to see the colors and start sorting your closet by awesome… and not so awesome (perhaps donate?).

How To Do A Personal Seasonal Color Analysis:

First, you need to determine your dominate “characteristic” in your coloring.

  • Deep… Dark and rich.
  • Light… Light and delicate.
  • Soft… Soft and muted.
  • Clear… Clear and bright.
  • Warm… No cool undertones.
  • Cool… No warm undertones.

Second, you need to determine whether you look better in cool colors or warm colors. If your skin has a yellow undertone, then you look best in warm colors.

Now, you combine the two to narrow down your season.

For example, I am Light in coloring. I have low contrast between my skin and hair. My eyes are a light blue green… but not a crystal clear blue. My skin has a distinct yellow undertone, so I am a warm palette. From this description, I can determine that my season is a Light Warm season.

Read through the descriptions above again and then read below to choose your season. I am a Light Spring.

And… drum roll please… here are your seasons to choose from:

Deep, Cool Colors = Deep Winter (Sandra Bullock and Kim Kardashian)

Deep, warm colors = Deep Autumn (Eva Mendes and Julia Roberts)

Light, warm colors = Light Spring (This is me!!) Ellen Degeneres and Kate Hudson

Light, Cool colors = Light Summer (Heather Locklear and Reese Witherspoon)

Clear, cool colors = Clear Winter (Megan Fox and Liv Tyler)

Clear, warm colors = Clear Spring (Emilie de Ravin and Jenny McCarthy)

Soft, warm colors = Soft Autumn (Drew Barrymore and the Olsen Twins)

Soft, cool colors = Soft Summer (Ellen Pompano and Jennifer Aniston)

Warm, light colors = Warm Spring (Nicole Kidman and Reba McEntire)

Warm, medium colors = Warm Autumn (Debra Messing and Marcia Cross)

Cool, medium colors = Cool Summer (Kimberly Williams and Miranda Lambert)

Cool, darker colors = Cool Winter (Lauren Graham and Brooke Shields)

Here’s the magic in knowing your seasonal colors. You will now know what colors to choose for clothes, makeup, scarves, jewelry, nail polish and eye glass frames. You can even extend your colors into your home… bringing out your personality.

Color is powerful when used the right way. Read more about your seasonal colors to get ideas on clothes, jewelry and makeup.